Monday, January 20, 2014

This Week in Television History: January 2014 PART IV

Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:

As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the more that fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truth really lies.

January 21, 1959
Carl Switzer, better known as Alfalfa from the Our Gang comedies, is shot and killed in a brawl. 
Switzer, who became a hunting guide and bartender in Northern California after his acting career fizzled, was shot after an argument over a $50 debt. Authorities ruled the shooting "justifiable homicide."

January 23, 2004
Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo) died in Windsor, Vermont at age 76.

He was survived by three children, Michael Derek, Laurie Margaret, and Maeve Jeanne. His wife of 45 years, Anne Jeanne Laurie Keeshan, died February 25, 1996. Keeshan's grandson, Britton Keeshan, became the youngest person at that time to have climbed the Seven Summits by climbing Mount Everest in May 2004. He carried photographs of his grandfather on that ascent, and buried a photo of the two of them at the summit.
Keeshan was buried in Saint Joseph's Cemetery in Babylon, New York.

January 25, 1949
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences presents its first industry award at the Hollywood Athletic Club in Los Angeles. 

The Emmy for most popular program went to Pantomime Quiz Time, and puppeteer Shirley Dinsdale and her puppet Judy Splinters won an award for Outstanding TV Personality. Most of the awards were for programs produced by TV station KTLA. The station also won an award for Outstanding Overall Achievement.

January 26, 1979
The Dukes of Hazzard premieres.  

The Dukes of Hazzard was a television comedy about two good-old-boy cousins in the rural South and their souped-up 1969 Dodge Charger known as the General Lee, debuts on CBS. The show, which originally aired for seven seasons, centered around cousins Bo Duke (John Schneider) and Luke Duke (Tom Wopat) and their ongoing efforts to elude their nemeses, the crooked county commissioner "Boss" Jefferson Davis Hogg (Sorrell Booke) and the bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (James Best).
The Dukes of Hazzard was known for its car chases and stunts and the General Lee, which had an orange paint job, a Confederate flag across its roof and the numbers "01" on its welded-shut doors, became a star of the show. The General Lee also had a horn that played the first 12 notes of the song "Dixie." Due to all the fast driving, jumps and crashes, it was common for several different General Lees to be used during the filming of each episode.
The General Lee also had a CB (Citizens Band) radio and Luke and Bo Duke's CB nicknames or "handles" were Lost Sheep #1 and Lost Sheep #2, respectively. "The Dukes of Hazzard" (along with the 1977 trucking movie "Smokey and the Bandit") helped promote the CB craze that swept America from the mid 1970s to the early 1980s.
Among the other cars featured on the show were Boss Hogg's white Cadillac Deville convertible, Uncle Jesse Duke's (Denver Pyle) Ford pickup truck and various tow trucks and vehicles belonging to Cooter Davenport (Ben Jones), the local mechanic. Bo and Luke's short-shorts wearing cousin Daisy Duke (Catherine Bach) drove a yellow Plymouth Roadrunner with black stripes and later a Jeep with a golden eagle emblem on the hood and the word "Dixie" on the doors.
The final episode of The Dukes of Hazzard originally aired on August 16, 1985. 

The show spawned several TV specials and a 2005 movie starring Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott and Jessica Simpson.

To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa
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